MP travels with Guga hunters to Sulasgeir

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WESTERN ISLES MP Angus Brendan MacNeil will tonight (Wednesday, August 17) travel to Sulasgeir with ten men from Ness as they go on their traditional annual harvest of the Guga on Sulasgeir.

“I felt very privileged when John ‘Dods’ MacFarlane asked me if I would like to accompany the men for the outward voyage which marks the beginning of their ten day expedition to Sulasgeir in pursuit of the Guga, the young of the Gannet (Sulaire in Gaelic), which is considered a delicacy particularly in Lewis,” said Mr MacNeil.

The MP will leave with the men at 1am from the Port of Ness to arrive at Sulasgeir forty miles to the north at daybreak.

The traditional, ancient activity of harvesting the Guga has been the hallmark of the area of Ness on Lewis for generations and is similar in culture to activities in Iceland and the Faroe Islands, and perhaps stem from Viking times.

Continued Mr MacNeil: “This activity has tremendous support the entire length of the Outer Hebrides. Last week I was stopped by a man in his eighties from Vatersay, the most southerly inhabited island of the Outer Hebrides, who wanted to tell me how much he supported the natural environmentalist that are the Guga Hunters.

“This is an activity which has attained legendary status in the Outer Hebrides – it has been going on for generations and we hope that it will continue for generations to come.”

He added: “I will be returning with the boat that is leaving the Guga Hunters on Sulasgeir. I feel very fortunate to be a small part of this year’s expedition, despite the 14 hour round trip.

“I wish the men a safe and successful time on Sulasgeir and together with the community we await their safe return from what is dangerous work.”